We hope you've been enjoying reading the inspiring interviews of some creative business owners and mothers even half as much as we've enjoyed sharing them!
Jessica Davis is the Owner and Creative Director of a fabulous interior design firm Atelier Davis and Founder and Creative Director of Nest Studio, a luxury hardware company (check out her amazing decorative cabinet pulls and knobs here). Jessica has such an amazing design eye and her work has been featured in so many publications, most recently in one of our faves - Domino mag (see it here).
She lives in Atlanta with her husband Scott and their two kids and two dogs (more on the fam below). She has expanded her design practice and Nest Studio line over the years and also enjoys gardening, painting and DIY projects on her lovely mid-century modern home. We had the chance to do some writing for her studio's blog years ago in the Northeast and are glad to have crossed paths again in the Atlanta area.
Q: Can you share a bit about what your family looks like as well as your work as an entrepreneur? How and when did your journey as a mother and business owner start?
A: We are a family of six! Myself, my husband, our 12 year old son Bryan and 9 year old daughter Lucy and our standard poodle Cheerio and schnauzer Oreo. My journey as a mother and a business owner started pretty concurrently. I designed my first collection of hardware when I was pregnant with Bryan and launched it as an official business when Bryan was around 8 months old just as we were moving from LA to New Jersey (because you might as well change everything up at once!)
Q: Do you have any favorite childhood toys, games, activities or even spaces that stand out to you?
A: I grew up in Hong Kong and have so many fond memories playing 40/40 with my friends (a British hide-and-seek game) and climbing around on the mountains behind our apartment building. I received my first Barbie from Barbara Handler whom Barbie was named after (her father invented Barbie). She lived in our building in Hong Kong for a while and had a closet full of Barbie dolls! And then when we moved to another building a few years later there was a woman who worked for Mattel and she would bring me trash bags full of reject Barbie clothes. That was so fun! Hong Kong in the 80's was so modern and so much of my style is influenced by the architecture and surroundings of those early days.
Q: What is hardest for you to juggle or balance right now? Have you found any hacks that are helping?
A: Well my kids are at a stage where they are older and not constantly on my hip or requiring watching. The biggest thing to juggle now is all the activities - signing them up (so many passwords and portals!), scheduling, getting the gear and supplies and getting them to and from. It's a lot more logistics at this stage of the game. I try to give myself grace and farm stuff out where I can. Sometimes we send our laundry out with a service called Poplin (it's like the Uber of laundry) which is a lifesaver and gives us some time back to relax on the weekends.
Q: Do you have any advice for an aspiring business owner who is stuck and doesn’t know where to start?
A: Check off the admin stuff first and you'll feel a lot better. Get incorporated, put some money in a business bank account. There are a lot of resources online to do this. And take it one day and one step at a time. It's great to create a big roadmap and big goals but none of that can happen if you don't do the little things and sometimes the big stuff can just seem so overwhelming.
Q: I feel that being a mother often pushes you to embrace something that may not have initially come easily. For us it’s embracing the play and the mess. What might it be for you?
A: Um - exactly! I've had to learn to live with two messy kids (well one kid who is especially messy) and two dirty dogs. If I wanted things neat and tidy all the time I would spend all my time cleaning and organizing. So I try to remember that that's what doors are for. Shut the door and it goes away.
Q: There is inspiration in so many places especially as a creative type! Who and / or what inspires you?
A: Gosh - so many things. Travel is really inspirational for me. I am the consummate daydreamer. When I'm on a trip I'm always perusing Zillow to see what sort of properties are around just in case my future second home pipe dream becomes a reality. I love to think about what it would be like to live somewhere and maybe even how I could make that happen. Sometimes these ideas end up playing themselves out in the interiors I'm designing and often the details I see in architecture and infrastructure inform my hardware designs.
Q: One thing that has helped my state of mind is focusing on gratitude daily. What are you grateful for?
A: Right now I'm super grateful for health. I'm getting to an age where friends are having health issues and parents are getting old. I'm really grateful that my family is overall healthy and we don't have any major ailments (knock on wood).
Q: What are your favorite activities or places to enjoy with your little(s) nowadays?
A: Well now they are bigs! We enjoy going out to eat. Bryan loves Japanese food and is super experimental so that is exciting and fun. Lucy is getting into clothes and skincare which I realize is super tween and potentially a money suck but it can be fun to go shopping with her and hear her opinions which are always a surprise.
Q: If you are into quizzes and whatnot, do you care to share your horoscope? Your enneagram?
A: I'm a Leo. My husband doesn't believe in astrology but I definitely see the Leo stuff come out in me! I'm an enneagram 3 - the Achiever and also 9, the Peacemaker (I guess I don't like conflict!)
Q: When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to be an architect. I've been drawing floor plans since second grade. So I guess I wasn't too far off!